Parks: Mobile Viewing Accounts for 40% of all Video Consumption Among Gen Z Households

Viewing on a smartphone or tablet now accounts for more than 40% of all video consumption hours among Gen Z heads of U.S. broadband households, compared to just 20% among all heads of domestic broadband households, according to new data from Parks Associates.

The Dallas-based research firm found Americans overall view more video on TVs than on PCs, and PCs more than mobile devices. However, device preference is strongly generational, and both millennials and Gen Z do most of their viewing on devices other than TVs.

“Since the introduction of the PC, and later smartphones and tablets, consumers’ viewing habits have evolved to include these new device types alongside the television,” analyst Kristen Hanich said in a statement. “These devices have become increasingly important to consumers, with mobile devices and PCs together capturing roughly half of consumer-reported viewing time. Companies in the entertainment space, particularly those targeting members of Generation Z, must make mobile and PCs part of their plans.”

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Jodi Susman, CMO, Penthera, a software development company that worked with Parks on the study, said the data suggests Gen Z’s high affinity for mobile video means its role is going to continue growing in the upcoming years.

“There’s also an important lesson here for the industry: It’s crucial to ensure a seamless experience on all platforms,” Susman said.

The report found that among Gen Z, the demo dedicates the largest share of its viewing time to mobile devices, then PCs, with the TV having the smallest share. Among millennials, while the TV has the higher share of viewing than PCs and mobile independently, collectively the two platforms account for almost two-thirds of viewing time.

“In 2020, Americans as a whole are largely multiscreen,” Hanich said. “Almost two-thirds of consumers view on multiple devices, including their mobile device, a TV, or a PC. Multiplatform viewing is highest among members of Gen Z, signifying that these viewers demand equal support for mobile, PCs, and TVs.”

Parks: Broadband Cord-Cutters Switching to Mobile Video

Broadband households in the United States likely to cut the pay-TV cord in the next 12 months are switching to mobile video, according to new data from Parks Associates.

The Dallas-based research firm said broadband households cutting the cord in the next 12 months watch more than six hours of video content on their mobile phone a week, compared to 2.5 hours among all domestic broadband households.

Parks said the market trends have spurred Comcast and Charter to introduce mobile services as a way to extend their service-based product portfolios.

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“Roughly 10% of broadband subscribers are likely broadband cord-cutters, with half of them highly likely to make the change in the next 12 months,” principal analyst Brett Sappington said in a statement. “Many are satisfied with their current provider overall, but these subscribers are aware of the other options available to them and could become actual cord-cutters if their current service does not continually meet their needs.”

The research notes that 66% of broadband households currently subscribe to a cable Internet service, 33% subscribe to DSL or fiber optic or use mobile data services. Verizon, AT&T, and Frontier are the largest providers of DSL and fiber-based fixed-line services.

“Potential broadband cord-cutters rely on their mobile devices for entertainment,” Sappington said. “They are significantly more likely to watch live video content via mobile, including live TV broadcasts and livestreaming, averaging an hour more per week each compared to average broadband households. As 5G mobile and 10G fixed broadband services start to deploy, the substantial performance improvements will be attractive to this segment of subscribers, which will drive many providers to match these offerings in order to achieve parity in competition and messaging.”

Comcast Throttling Mobile Hotspot Speeds, Lowering Video Resolution

Comcast has begun informing Xfinity Mobile subscribers that it plans to drop video resolution from 720p HD to 480p (DVD quality), including subs on unlimited data plans. Subs seeking to maintain 720p resolution, are advised to use one of Comcast’s 19 million Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide.

The media giant launched Xfinity Mobile in May 2017 and ended the first quarter (ended March 31) with more than 577,000 subscribers.

With over-the-top video services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu pushing for greater mobile viewing, data usage on mobile networks is soaring.

Two years ago, Netflix began throttling its video streams to subscribers using Verizon Wireless and AT&T mobile networks to 600kbps to help users stay within their data caps. Sprint and T-Mobile offer unlimited data plans that reduce streaming speed when subscribers exceed their data caps.

“We believe restrictive data caps are bad for consumers and the Internet in general, creating a dilemma for those who increasingly rely on their mobile devices for entertainment, work and more,” Netflix wrote in a blog post at the time.

Comcast said the new restrictions would help it reduce the cost of delivering mobile video to subscribers. It also offers subs the option to pay “By the Gig” ($15 per GB), that drops streaming speeds to 1.5Mbps when usage exceeds 20GB per month.

“Starting July 16, you can call us at (888) 936-4968 to enable HD streaming on an interim basis. In the future, HD-quality video will be available as a fee-based option with your service,” Comcast said.